The Manhattan District Attorney made a more pointed case for the legality of its grand jury subpoena for eight years of President Donald Trump’s tax returns and related records, saying in a brief to an appeals court that news reports of misconduct alone justify such a wide-ranging review of business dealings, reports the Washington Post. The filing marks the first time District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has publicly suggested specific criminal charges — including falsifying business records and tax fraud — that could hypothetically apply, should the grand jury find evidence to support them. Vance’s investigation includes alleged hush-money payments in 2016 to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, as well as a “variety of business transactions,” said a a filing by the office’s general counsel, Carey Dunne. The investigation “is based on information derived from public sources, confidential informants, and the grand jury process,” the filing said.
Trump’s legal team has argued that Vance is misrepresenting the true scope of the investigation. Dunne wrote that “in particular,” any false statements made to business partners, would-be lenders, insurers or tax authorities about Trump business properties — no matter where the properties were located — would be fair game for New York prosecutors if the statements were made from Trump Tower or Trump Organization headquarters in Manhattan. False statements, Dunne wrote, could lead to charges including scheme to defraud, falsification of business records, insurance fraud and criminal tax fraud. The filing cites reporting by the Post about Trump allegedly inflating the value of his properties to lenders and investors. It noted the New York Times reporting and statements by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, who admitted to orchestrating payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. The women claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denied.